UK Guardian: Volcanic ash is the new swine flu panic

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2010-04-19 21:07:51

Attachments :…   Volcanic ash is the new swine flu panic Putting large, heavy bits of metal into the air is just too much for the psyche of modern regulators – they panic Some of the stranded travellers evacuated from Calais, France, enter Dover marina. Photograph: Max Nash/PA Wire A ship, a ship, my kingdom for a ship. Refugees now herded in airports on the west coast of America are harking back to Conrad. Thousands of us, entombed in the hotels round LA airport, live by rumour. A fleet of racing canoes is said to have left New Zealand waters, re-enacting the ancient Polynesian migration to Easter Island. Bring them on, we cry. Any vessel will do to escape. Across the world, air travellers to Europe are in limbo. Mysterious websites tell of riots on Spanish ferries, $1,000 taxi rides from Scandinavia and a million desperate Britons wandering the continent. We hear they are fighting to get on trains and buses, huddled, exhausted things with sacks like those fleeing an advancing army. The Vikings of Iceland, who gave us herring wars and dodgy credit, have capped it all by cutting the Atlantic. Come back Columbus, come back the Cunarders. Death to Iceland. What did we do before planes? We hear of pandemonium in New York as travellers queue for precious boat tickets. Is the Panama Canal open? Or might we get up to Alaska and cross to the Trans-Siberian railroad to St Petersburg. The rumour is Portugal is open, suddenly free of ash. Everyone screams for seats to Lisbon. Consortia form in corners to charter executive jets. Might some cowboy take a propeller plane to Greenland and fly down through the ash to London? Every crisis is an opportunity. The health-and-safety Armageddon I long expected has arrived. It was bad enough to have an idiot with a shoe bomb stirring equally idiot regulators to enforce billions of pounds of cost and inconvenience on air travellers in the cause of “it might happen again”. Now we have a volcano and a bit of dust. It is another swine flu. The truth is that putting large, heavy bits of metal into the air is just too much for the psyche of modern regulators. They panic. The slightest risk cannot be taken or someone might blame the regulators, whose job is not to assess risk but avert it. Even an airline company, with everything to lose, is not allowed to assess its own risk. Many more will die on roads and elsewhere because of the anarchy the air controllers have unleashed on Europe, but that is not their business. They don’t care. I will find it hard to trust airlines again, not because they are too risky but because what they do panics authority too easily. Air travel has become hellish. For the moment, we must pray for another Dunkirk. The skies over the Atlantic must fill with planes, big and small, swooping out of the jet-stream to pluck the poor bloody infantry of globalisation off the beaches of the new world, and get them home to fight another day. Please come soon. Are you interested in what’s really going on in the world, behind the facade? Then…www.checktheevidence… happened on 9/11?    

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